House of Commons Hansard #131 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

Supply
Government Orders

1:15 p.m.

The Deputy Speaker

The motion is in order.

Supply
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, the point of my speech is very simple and straightforward. Patriotism cannot be manufactured.

Contrary to the ideas the Liberals have, that if it is not done by the government, somehow it is not worthwhile and it is not going to happen, the point of my speech is this. Canadian culture is what Canadians do. Canadian culture is what Canadians are. We are proud of our nation. We are proud not only of the magnificence of our nation and the bounty of its resources but we are particularly proud of its people.

We do not have to be told that we are different to someone else. We do not have to feel inferior to anyone else. Canadians are the greatest people in the world. They are industrious. They are forthright.

It bothers me so much when we run into a situation that unless somehow the government gets involved, the government mandates, the government controls, the government funds, the government over arches everything, somehow we cannot be Canadian.

The approach of the heritage minister to everything, whether it is the Canadian copyright law, or the Canadian content rules that she was musing about over the weekend with respect to the CRTC, or where we should be going as far as CBC or even the importation of books into Canada, I find absolutely appalling that this minister is so shortsighted that she cannot see the greatness of our people and the greatness of our nation right in front of her face.

Supply
Government Orders

1:20 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is with sadness that I rise today because, in this great and extraordinary country called Canada, we have to condemn the use of public funds made by this government, which has earmarked money for propaganda activities that essentially seek to discredit the people of Quebec.

The Information Canada office, the one million flag operation, all these schemes are ways of telling Quebecers: "You are wrong to feel like a people, to feel like a nation".

I want to thank the Reform Party member for specifying the amounts involved. We all know these figures, but we can never repeat them often enough.

Tomorrow, the Minister of Finance will deliver his budget speech. Chances are the budget will be soft on Canadians. Since this government came to office in 1993, budgets have been harsh. The government did not hesitate to make drastic cuts, which primarily affect the poor and the needy, and which force provincial governments to cut health and social programs.

Culture has not been spared either. Cultural institutions of which Canada can be proud, and to which Quebec can deservedly claim to have contributed, such as the CBC, Telefilm and the National Film Board, have been the target of incredible cuts.

These institutions played a major role in the expression of my culture. In Quebec, Radio-Canada has been a tool to make people aware of the fact that French is a rich and dynamic language, as well as an original way of stating our identity.

When Prime Minister Trudeau came to office, he had something against Radio-Canada. He never hid the fact that, if he had had his way, he would have closed that institution. Since 1993, one can feel that the current Liberal government would very much like to fulfil the former Prime Minister's wish, as evidenced by the cuts made to cultural programs by the heritage department.

There have been a few heritage ministers since 1993. The most recent, the Deputy Prime Minister, is probably the most flamboyant. Without the slightest hesitation, she is diverting funds set aside for culture with a capital C towards purely propaganda activities. These are activities promoting Canadian unity and culture, multiculturalism. In other words, culture in Canada has only one face, only one colour-it must be Canadian.

You will have no trouble understanding that I am opposed to this state of affairs, because it is my contention, and the very great majority of Quebecers would agree with me, that my culture is the culture of Quebec. It is not better than Canadian culture, but it is different, and we are staunch advocates of this right to be different. Our understanding of the decisions made by the heritage minister is that what she is setting out to do is to take away our right to express this difference.

There are many examples. There was even one recently. We learned that the Department of Foreign Affairs has new criteria for awarding grants to artists. The determining factors will no longer

be talent, creativity and originality, but ultimately the colour of the flag artists prefer. If you prefer the maple leaf, you will get your grant; if the fleur de lis means more to you, forget it.

This means that the current image of culture outside Canada will gradually fade, because unfortunately there are many Quebec artists who identify with the Quebec culture and are not afraid to say so, even if it may mean the loss of grants. It is all vaguely reminiscent of the good old days in the USSR when artistic merit was measured by an artist's promotion of the values of the unitary state, by his adulation of the government's achievements. This is not, I think, what culture is.

Culture is the expression of a people, of its identity, of its difference. For as long as French survives in Quebec, for as long as the people of Quebec see the French language as the best means of giving expression to their identity, I am sorry, but we will speak of a nation of Quebecers.

Since it was elected, this government has made major cuts in the cultural sector. It is very interesting to read what the red book has to say, although in few months it will be more than obsolete. In the red book the Liberal Party set out to promote culture and condemn the nasty Conservatives who dared to make savage cuts.

On page 88, it says, and I quote: "Spending cuts to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the Canada Council, the National Film Board, Telefilm Canada and other institutions illustrate the Tories' failure to appreciate the importance of cultural development". And also: "A Liberal government will help Canadian books, films and sound recordings to increase their share of the domestic market. We will also take measures to enable Canadian producers of cultural products to export their work to international markets. Finally, a Liberal government will be committed to stable multiyear financing for national cultural institutions such as the Canada Council and the CBC". It took a long time to achieve stable multiyear financing. And before we get there, there will be more cutbacks amounting to tens of millions of dollars.

Since 1993, the Liberals slashed the CBC's budget by a third, for a total of $414 million in cuts, resulting in 4,000 lay-offs, including 1,300 at the French network. Similarly, Telefilm Canada suffered funding cuts totalling $46 million; at the Canada Council, it was $12 million; at the NAC, the National Arts Centre, $5 million, and at the National Film Board, $27 million. Once you start cutting, you can go on. It is easy. You get used to it.

Last week we heard the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who is still Deputy Prime Minister of this country, promise stable financing for the CBC. After more than three years of cuts, promising stable financing means that the CBC will be left with a downsized, inadequate budget, especially in the French television and radio sector, which are underfinanced compared with the English network.

However, francophones are wizards. They do wonders with reduced budgets. In other words, this government rewards the competence of artists and producers by cutting funding. All this is probably planned in advance.

But just the same, some crazy things have happened. They cut funding, and then they established an office called the CIO, or BIC in French. At home, Bic is a wonderful little village in Quebec on the shores of the St. Lawrence, with magnificent views. It is really beautiful countryside. So, obviously, calling the centre the BIC, Bureau d'information du Canada, is a bit disturbing, but we will let it go.

Extraordinary things came out of all this. There was, for example, the One Million Flags Operation. My impression, however, when I looked at my Christmas cards this year, was that things were not going as well as they might, because there were Christmas cards where an entire family was dressed in a Canadian flag. Now that is quite extraordinary.

It seems there were flags alright, when they were trying to colour Quebec red and white. It seems that only 10 per cent of the flags ended up in Quebec, compared to 40 per cent in Ontario. So 50 per cent of the operation took place in central Canada, except that I must say I saw few flags displayed in Quebec. I did not see any in the towns and villages. Perhaps I am colour blind.

They are doing other things too. They are setting up sweepstakes. Lotteries are in fashion. They are preparing Attractions Canada questionnaires. It seems to me that if you are proud of your country, you do not need this sort of incentive. Being proud of one's country, loving one's country, comes naturally.

When a government feels obliged to invest huge amounts to force people to love their country, we know it is not going to work. You cannot force people to love, and Quebecers cannot be forced to appear to love, because loving involves being treated with respect. And we can see from all that goes on with Heritage Canada that respect is not the watchword in this government's treatment of Quebec.

I had the opportunity to see the figures for federal spending since December 1994, that is, a few months prior to the referendum campaign. The figure is nearly $100 million, which is a lot of money. I am no economist, but I recall our asking for Tokamak, a high tech industry, the sum of $8 million, which was out of the question. Yet, $100 million was allocated to propaganda before the referendum and immediately after.

More than $1 million was spent on the Canadian flag 30th anniversary celebrations. I wonder how much France spent to mark the anniversary of its flag. It may be worth asking our researchers to look into that.

An amount of $1,843,000 was spent for the UN's 50th anniversary; for the "Heritage Minutes"-I do not go to the movies often, but I remember seeing one or two on the big screen, but putting anything on the big screen is expensive: $2,220,000.

Tourism promotion for Canadians: $15 million. That is incredible. I have the figures right here; I can read them, even without my glasses. The "One Million Voices" campaign-they must have sung quite loud because it cost $500,000. And that went in fact to the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne.

Canadian identity alone, in terms of subsidies not identified within Heritage Canada, cost $3 million. There is the Canadian passport promotion. Is it not just incredible to be promoting the Canadian passports? Passports are used less and less. In Europe today, people can travel freely, but here the passport is being promoted. It is a well known fact that Canadians travel extensively around the world; therefore a small amount of $25,000 was allocated to promoting the Canadian passport. You realize that there are single parent families with two and three children that do not earn that much in a whole year.

On federal government services, $5 million was spent. For Operation Unity: $11 million. And the list goes on, with $23 million here and $600,000 there. This all adds up to nearly $100 million.

I believe the government should think again. Tomorrow is budget day. We cannot really tell what the finance minister's budget will contain, but one thing is for sure: in this country, culture will continue to have a strongly partisan connotation to it. I must say that it is a shame that propaganda takes precedence over respect.

I hope that, by the year 2000, ours friends across the way will have learned to view Quebec in an honest, respectful and realistic way.

I think there is nothing wrong with being naive; it allows us to keep hoping. I tell you that my hope is alive. We should never lose hope.

Supply
Government Orders

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Patrick Gagnon Bonaventure—Îles-De-La-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened very carefully to the hon. member's speech.

The member sort of criticized, again, Canada and its proud and well-known institutions, which have worked hard to promote and to preserve the French fact, in Quebec and across the country.

I find it strange that, when numbers are mentioned, particularly by Bloc Quebecois members, there is a tendency to exaggerate. I would like the hon. member to explain something. As she knows, Quebec accounts for close to 25 per cent of the country's population, 24.9 per cent to be precise, and pays 22 per cent of federal taxes. However, in the case of certain federal institutions, such as the National Film Board, we note that 73.9 per cent of the NFB's budget is spent in Quebec.

In the case of Telefilm Canada, which was used to edit a number of well-known Quebec films, close to 62.9 per cent of the budget was spent in Quebec, including 43 per cent on French language films. Again, Quebec currently accounts for 25 per cent of Canada's population.

As for the CBC, I agree with the hon. member that cuts were made. However, cuts are not unique to Canada. Indeed, major cuts were made to Radio-Québec and to community radio stations in various regions of the province. We could also mention the various cuts made in other countries. It is a fact that the media world is undergoing drastic changes as we are about to begin a new century.

I am looking at the figures for the CBC, and I agree that cuts were made. The corporation had a budget of $918 million, of which close to 40 per cent, or $367,280,000, was allocated to its French network, Radio-Canada. So, based on the proportion of the overall population living in Quebec, the province is actually getting close to $140 million more than it should.

I find it strange and I wonder if, in this post-referendum context for us, which is probably a pre-referendum context for the Bloc Quebecois, the hon. member could tell us where Quebec would find that money, should it achieve sovereignty.

Supply
Government Orders

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Madeleine Dalphond-Guiral Laval Centre, QC

Mr. Speaker, the member asks how will we come up with this money once Quebec is independent.

You know, it has nothing to do with chance, if I may rely on the figures given by my colleague, the member for Bonaventure-Îles-de-la-Madeleine, when he says that the NFB spent 73 per cent of its budget in Quebec, it is very simple. It is because the creativity is in Quebec, that is all.

What is the mainstay of Canadian culture right now? The mainstay of Canadian culture is the dynamism of the culture of Quebec.

Let no one think that money has been allocated to the NFB or Telefilm Canada out of the goodness of anyone's heart. That is not the case. It is because of our ability to turn to exceptional account the money given to our creators.

It is my view that, the day Quebecers take charge of their own affairs, become their own masters, our culture will have all the means to find its full expression, without being subject to the dictates of people who claim to have money, because they have forgotten that the money they have actually comes from the voters, from the taxpayers.

My colleague was saying that we represented almost 25 per cent, or a bit less, of the population, but as far as I know, we pay the same taxes as the rest of Canada. So he was worried about how we would manage. I can reassure him immediately. I think that our future will be on a level with our ability, our determination and our respect for ourselves and for our neighbours in Canada.

Supply
Government Orders

1:45 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Haldimand-Norfolk.

I am pleased to rise in the House to address the opposition motion today and in particular I want to remind the House of the accomplishments of this government in supporting Canada's publishing industry and its progress in the field of copyright reform.

Our government and our Prime Minister are deeply committed to supporting Canadian culture and promoting Canadian content. In partnership with leaders in the arts and culture in Canada, the Minister of Canadian Heritage is developing a cohesive vision for the real and sustainable support to culture in this country. Today I would like to highlight some of our accomplishments to date.

This government wants to ensure the continued development of the Canadian publishing industry. By directly assisting this sector and by implementing structural policy measures we are making sure that Canadian publishing remains an important agent of cultural expression.

The Canadian poet Hector de Saint-Denys Garneau once said that writers burst the boundaries of the globe. Our books and magazines connect us, first to deeper parts of ourselves, then to each other and finally to our sense of place. In turn, they reflect Canada back to the world.

Canadians want to read Canadian books and they are doing so. Recent market research shows that Canadians are reading more than ever and that most of them are reading Canadian writers. Eighty per cent of these works are published by Canadian owned firms.

The successes read like a hit parade of Canadian writers. Many are household names, remarkable talents, such as Robertson Davies, Michel Tremblay, W.P. Kinsella, Anne Hébert, Marie-Claire Blais, Emile Nelligan, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, Gabriel Roy and Robinson Mistry, to name only a few.

Our writers are helping to forge a place for Canadian literature as a world class art form. It is being translated into dozens of languages, studied in some 40 countries and recognized internationally by being awarded some of the highest honours and awards. For example, Antoine Maillet has been the recipient of the most prestigious French language literary award, the prix Goncourt. Michael Ondaatje won the Booker prize, Great Britain's most prestigious literary award.

Canadian magazines are another essential form of our cultural expression from news and opinion magazines like L'Actualité and Maclean's to health magazines like Santé and children's magazines like Chickadee . Our magazine industry is essential to our sense of who we are as Canadians.

Canada has over 1,400 magazines. They provide employment for nearly 6,000 Canadians and bear witness to the fact that our publishers, editors, art directors and writers are among the finest in the world. Through the book publishing development program, the Government of Canada is providing $15.8 million in direct financial assistance to over 180 Canadian publishers in 1996-97. As well, over $6 million was provided to support the marketing of books in Canada and to promote the export of Canadian books abroad.

The Government of Canada helps the Canadian publishing sector and Canadian authored books to achieve their considerable success. The Canadian market share of Canadian authored books has risen from 5 per cent in 1970 to 25 per cent today. In the last five years export sales of Canadian books have tripled.

Our commitment is stronger than ever. During the summer of 1996, the government worked with book publishers to study options to improve the financial health of Canadian owned publishing firms. The result of this study is fueling a three point publishing strategy, including short term funding assistance to stabilize the industry, a feasibility study for creating a publishers loan guarantee program and other long term measures to stabilize the financing environment for publishers.

Recently the Minister of Canadian Heritage provided our publishers with an additional $5 million to bolster direct financial assistance to the sector for 1996-97. The periodical industry has received both direct assistance and support through structural policy measures.

Canadians are reading more Canadian magazines than ever before. In 1961 about 25 per cent of magazines circulating in this country were Canadian. By 1992 that had increased to almost 68 per cent. We want to keep this kind of growth in Canada's vital cultural industries. The book and the periodical publishing sector in Canada plays a pivotal role in telling us about ourselves, about Canadian places, events and issues. Our enormous successes in this sector at home and abroad are dependent upon industries with strong foundations in the domestic market. The government is working with members of the publishing community to strengthen it. That is partnership in action, working for Canadian culture and identity.

An area relating to the publishing sector and directly affecting it is that of copyright. Among the initiatives of the government is its work in copyright reform. For several years Canadians have awaited amendments to the Copyright Act, important changes that would update the legislation and help the cultural sector to meet the challenges of the information age.

Bill C-32, an act to amend the Copyright Act, will soon receive third reading in the House. In the early 1980s the Liberal government of the day produced a comprehensive document, the Applebaum-Hebert report, which called for the reform of copyright legislation. In the years that followed, the Conservative government failed to act to update copyright legislation. We are remedying that situation by making sure that Bill C-32 passes into law.

As a member of the heritage committee I work closely with Canadian authors and publishers to ensure that Bill C-32 addresses the concerns of both groups. The bill as amended by the heritage committee effectively balances the interests of the publishers, authors and consumers of copyright material. Bill C-32 will help ensure that Canadian authors will be compensated for the unauthorized use of their works.

An amendment I proposed will ensure that users will have access to unpublished documents in archives while providing protection for authors who do not wish to have their papers copied. The bill will also ensure that Canadian publishers with exclusive distribution agreements will be protected from parallel importation.

I receive many calls from Hamilton book sellers expressing concern about the limits on parallel importation. I was able to assure them that amendments were made to the copyright bill that will ensure that book sellers have timely access to special orders.

This government has listened to Canadians. We have taken the measures to move ahead on such long sought after legislation as Bill C-32. We recognize that if there is any matter that Canadians hold dear, it is Canadian culture. By bringing Bill C-32 before the House we have made a significant contribution to the vitality of Canada's cultural sector. By protecting the legitimate right of Canada's creators who are the source of our cultural vitality, we are ensuring the continued vitality of Canada's cultural sector.

In 1993 the Liberal government pledged its commitment to support Canadian culture through concrete support and by the establishment of relevant policies and legislation. We are proud of our accomplishments and we stand by our commitment to complete the work we have begun.

Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Jim Abbott Kootenay East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member could help me understand something about just one of the many aspects of Bill C-32. I am thinking of the blank tape levy.

With the blank tape levy where people are going to be charged so many cents, which we talked about in committee, 35 or 40 cents a tape, it is going to raise $12 million which supposedly will be distributed to artists. Could the member help me understand how this encourages Canadian artists, considering that the vast majority of the music being copied is an American product. The money is going to be distributed in small part to the Canadian artists.

This is actually simply encouraging two things, number one a trade battle with the U.S. where it says "if you are collecting $12 million and the product that you are copying is an American product, we demand to have our fair share of that". Therefore we once again have the Liberals instigating a trade battle with the U.S. much like with Sports Illustrated .

Second, could she explain to this House, indeed to Canadians, how this will actually encourage more work by or for Canadian artists, if it is not what I have always called it, simply a tax on tapes.

Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to give a brief answer to that question, but maybe I could come back and finish it after question period. Would that be all right?

Supply
Government Orders

1:55 p.m.

The Speaker

My colleague, if you would rather wait and give a fuller answer after question period, that would be fine with me. With that, the hon. member for Kootenay East will get an answer to his question and we will be able to begin Statements by Members.

Correctional Service Canada
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Reform

Lee Morrison Swift Current—Maple Creek—Assiniboia, SK

Mr. Speaker, I have received several complaints about apparent overstaffing at corrections Canada's Okimaw Ochi Healing Lodge near Maple Creek, Saskatchewan.

For example, a certified day care worker was recently hired for the one toddler at the institution. I am told that there will soon be two toddlers. The lodge has a good working arrangement for foster care on the nearby Nikaneet Reserve, so that solitary child is at the lodge only half time.

There are two nurses on staff for the 20 inmates, whereas neighbouring taxpaying farmers and ranchers who have never

committed a crime still have to travel 30 or 40 kilometres to obtain basic medical services. Is this fair?

This small institution has four clerical employees. I do not doubt that they are busy, but why is there so much paper to shuffle?

My diagnosis is that corrections Canada suffers from chronic bureaucratic bloat.

Teaching Excellence
Statements By Members

1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Ron Fewchuk Selkirk—Red River, MB

Mr. Speaker, last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Prime Minister's Awards for Teaching Excellence in Science, Technology and Mathematics in Ottawa.

It was an honour to attend this ceremony and to witness my constituent Denise McWilliams receive this award, the highest honour in the teaching field.

On behalf of the people of Selkirk Red River riding, I rise today to thank Denise McWilliams for her hard work and teaching excellence.

Teachers play a critical role in shaping the attitudes of students and in equipping them for future careers in the global economy they face. The hard work of teachers today will mean a better Canada for all of us tomorrow.

Minister Of Intergovernmental Affairs
Statements By Members

February 17th, 1997 / 1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, again this week, the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs gave us evidence that the federal government is like the Leaning Tower of Pisa; it always leans the same way, toward Alliance Quebec.

When the minister was questioned on his government's intentions concerning the organization of school boards along language lines, the minister launched an all-out attack against Quebec's language policies, accusing the Quebec government of dividing its francophone and anglophone communities.

How can we understand a minister from Quebec's constant attacks on the Government of Quebec, when he never has the courage to speak out against the failure of provincial governments to provide services in French to francophones living in their province?

Such behaviour clearly illustrates this government's complicity in the anglicization of francophones by closing its eyes to a number of facts, including the fact that the federal public service is one of the key tools in the anglicization of Quebec and Canadian francophones.

National Heritage Day
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Beth Phinney Hamilton Mountain, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark national heritage day.

Heritage day, established by Heritage Canada in 1973, is an opportunity for Canadians from coast to coast to coast to celebrate, discover and share our rich and diverse heritage.

The diversity of our country and of its people is expressed in many ways and makes us unique among the nations of the world. Whether we were born here, or came to Canada later in life, together we have built a great nation, a country recognized by the United Nations as the best country in the world in which to live.

Today we should all take the opportunity to remember with pride the contributions of all of those who have helped form this great country, celebrate the diversity which makes up our heritage and strengthen the multicultural fabric of Canada.

I call on all members and all Canadians to join me in celebrating national heritage day.

The Budget
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Elsie Wayne Saint John, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals are congratulating themselves and expecting applause because tomorrow's budget, they say, contains no major new spending cuts. What hypocrisy!

The real story is that in the fiscal year starting April 1, there are $11.9 billion in new spending cuts by federal departments, all announced in the 1995 budget.

For example, when the Minister of National Defence appeared on CTV with Mike Duffy this past Sunday, he said defence funding has stabilized. Some stability: beginning April 1, 1997, $1 billion in further cuts will be inflicted on national defence. This will bring the total cuts at DND over the three-year period to $1.9 billion. The list goes on.

All these cuts do not include the cutbacks to the federal cash transfers to the provinces for health and education.

Somalia Inquiry
Statements By Members

2 p.m.

Reform

Ed Harper Simcoe Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, in shutting the Somalia inquiry, the defence minister is once again showing his lack of respect for due process. His interpretation of justice was clearly established when he was Minister of Transport responsible for the shameful Bill C-22 cancellation of the Pearson airport contract.

While no one disputed the right of the government to cancel the deal, this bill would have denied Canadian citizens their day in court. They would have no opportunity to defend their contract or their reputations. Even Clifford Olson was not denied his day in court.